Emancipation: Will Smith holds private screening for close friends including Dave Chappelle, Tyler Perry, and Rihanna

will smith, emancipation

Apple has recently released the trailer for the new Will Smith historical drama, Emancipation. The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, of The Equalizer fame, sees Smith as Peter, who is an escaped slave that treks across the Louisiana swamps with only his wits to guide him as he seeks freedom. The Apple original won the exclusive rights to the film in a record-breaking auction, which made the film very high profile.

Deadline reports on Smith recently hosting a private screening for his close friends. Guests included the likes of Dave Chappelle, Rihanna, Tyler Perry, A$AP Rocky, Kenya Barris, and more. Will posted pictures of the gathering to his Instagram account, calling the screening an “Epic night,” and thanked everyone in attendance while also saying, “Hope ya’ll enjoyed!!”

Kenya Barris would also post pictures of the small event with the caption, “This night was truly one for the books! An amazing and brilliant group of friends got together and witnessed TRUE ART. The conversation after was the effect of what anything and everything we as creatives do in this industry hope for. Love you @willsmith.” He would also reply to Will’s post, saying, “This night was MAGIC and your movie is truly something that will last forever!”

Emancipation will be the first project released by Smith after the slap heard round the world at the Oscars involving Chris Rock. Chappelle, who was in attendance at the screening, is also currently on tour with Rock and has called Will’s actions a “very strange choice.” As he knows both men personally, he adds that Rock has always been himself, but Smith “did an impression of a perfect man for 30 years… I just hope he doesn’t put that mask back on.”

Fuqua, who spent quite a bit of time with Smith on the movie, comments that “Will Smith is a great guy. I was with him for a couple of years, making this movie. He is a wonderful person, an amazing partner, and he did an amazing job on this movie. Chris Rock’s a good guy… and I just pray it works out for them as friends, and we can move forward.”

Emancipation opens in theaters on December 2 followed by an AppleTV+ release on December 9.

Source: Deadline

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.